The second attempt at annual legislative sessions adjourned February 25, 2010. Key legislation included unemployment benefits; protecting privacy and worker rights by banning credit checks when applying for employment; guaranteeing access to health coverage for foster children and survivors of domestic abuse by prohibiting denial due to a preexisting condition clause; increased the capital construction budget for state facilities, including universities and community colleges, to add construction jobs; and expanded access to business development loans.
ONA successfully pushed an override of the Governor’s veto on legislation that requires PERS to stand behind their numbers to retirees, giving them stability and peace of mind when planning for the future. Additionally, we helped create the Primary Care Services Program to provide loan repayment for primary care providers in rural and underserved areas.
ONA’s biggest disappointment was the failure of the legislature to pass a ban on the hormone-disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) in products for children under the age of three. Ultimately, opposition forces were successful in blocking passage of the bill. Additionally, efforts to mandate payment-parity for mental health providers, including nurse practitioners, never made it off the ground. Both of these issues will continue to be addressed by ONA is coming months and into the 2011 session.
At the end of the day, Oregon voters will be the judge as to whether the legislature will continue to meet annually. The annual session legislation was referred to the November 2010 ballot. The referral asks for the approval of annual state legislative sessions with a 35 day time limit on the length of the even-year sessions. Currently, Oregon is one of five states that doesn’t meet annually. Oregon is also one of a few states that doesn’t have time limits on the length of state legislative sessions.
Below is a summary of some of the health related bills considered by the 2010 Legislature:
HB 3639 Primary Care Services Program (Support)
Restructures the rural loan repayment program to include 25% urban providers, moves program to the Office of Rural Health, standardizes awards, and other changes. Passed into law
SB 897 (2009) Veto Override (Support)
Override the Governor’s 2009 veto of SB 897 which provides PERS retirees the piece of mind and guaranteed pre-retirement verification of data so they can plan for their future. Override successful
SB 1032 BPA Ban for Infant Products (Support)
A ban on infant products containing the hormone-disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) which has been linked to cancer, obesity, reproductive problems, heart disease and diabetes. Failed in the Senate
HB 3664 Expanded OHP for Foster Kids (Support)
Creates a new category of Medicaid eligibility for about 400 young adults, ages 18-21, in Oregon who have aged out of the foster care system. Passed into law
SB 1046 Prescribing Psychologists (Neutral)
Directs the Medical Board to establish a program, by mid-2011, which grants psychologists certain prescribing rights after additional training requirements are met. Passed into law
HB 3607 Mental Health Payment Parity (Support)
Insurance payment parity for all mental health providers, including nurse practitioners, to ensure that Oregon has adequate numbers of providers. Interim discussion for the 2011 session
HB 3642 Expands Supervision for Physician Assistants (Neutral)
Broadens supervision for PAs; in addition to direct supervision of a PA by a physician, a panel of physicians, with one named as the physician in charge, could supervise a PA or group of PAs. Passed into law
SB 1011 Mandatory Flu Shots for Healthcare Workers (Neutral)
Requirements health care facilities to offer providers, including nurses, seasonal flu vaccinations; and a written notice of declination. Interim discussion
HJR 100 Healthcare is a Right (Support)
A Constitutional amendment establishing health care as a right of all Oregonians. Failed in the House